ADSL Modem/Router

Routing is the core of your shared network

When you set-up a shared connection you are essentially setting up an Ethernet network - wired, wireless or both - around your home and/or office, with a connection to the Internet attached to that network.

The first thing to understand is that every device on the Ethernet network can connect to any other device. If you have three computers attached to the Ethernet network then they can all connect to each other to share files, access printers or even play multi-user games.

If connected together by Ethernet cable, they are connected together through a 'switch'. If connected together by wireless Ethernet, they wirelessly connect to a local Ethernet access point. You may also have a combination of wireless and wired to form your Ethernet network. Of course, while you can now connect to all the devices on your network, you still cannot connect to the Internet! To do this you will need a router also attached to the Ethernet network. A router provides the ability to 'route' traffic between one network and another - in our case between our local Ethernet network and the Internet. Because the router is attached to the Ethernet network, all of the devices can see it. Indeed, each of the devices is configured in such a way so they know that if the user wants to access the Internet, they need to direct traffic (data) to the router. Because the router is also attached to the Internet, it will pass the traffic on from the Ethernet network out to the Internet and back again.

A router can be a dedicated hardware device with firmware (software) running, or it can be another computer with the appropriate router software running on the operating system. This buying guide deals with the former - dedicated hardware device solutions - which provide reliability, simplicity and high availability in a cost-effective package.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Staff Writers

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?